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Ball State to play Central Florida in Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl

Sunday, December 2, 2012 - 9:33 pm

Ball State for the first time in four years is going to a bowl game.

The Ball State athletics department announced Sunday night that it accepted an invitation to play in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl against Central Florida.

Ball State (9-3, 6-2 MAC) finished the regular season on the six-game winning streak and finished in third place in the MAC West. In addition, the Cardinals received two votes in the regular season's Top 25 Associated Press Poll.

"Our football program is extremely pleased to be representing the MAC at the Beef 'O'Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg," coach Pete Lembo said in a statement released Sunday. "We have had an outstanding season and are looking forward to allowing the fans of Florida and our fans across the country to see our exciting team. This is an honor for our football program and our university, and our fans and alumni are excited about the invitation."

Central Florida (9-4, 7-1 Conference USA) won the Conference USA East Division and lost to Tulsa in overtime in the conference championship game Saturday.

The Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl will be played at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21 in St. Petersburg, Fla.

This will be the Cardinals' first bowl appearance since losing the GMAC Bowl in January 2009. Ball State has never won a bowl game in its program history.

Ball State and Central Florida have not played yet other since 2004 when Central Florida was a member of the MAC before leaving the conference. The Cardinals lead the all-time series at 2-1.